History Lessons from Years Under Islamism

History Lessons from Years Under Islamism, by Majid Rafizadeh.

My father’s generation in Iran lived in an environment in which the Islamist party of the country’s clergy cunningly depicted themselves as intending no harm, supportive of the people, and not interested in power. So, before the revolution, many Iranians did not think that Khomeini’s party would be committing the atrocities that they are committing now or that they would have such an unrelenting hunger for power. Instead, during this time, the country thought it was on a smooth path towards democracy, with no expectation of ever returning to a barbaric era. Even the then-US President Jimmy Carter viewed Khomeini as a good religious holy man.

Iranians did not just submit to these new laws; they rose up in protest. This uprising was met with torture, rape, and death. With the regime eager to wipe any who dared to resist, the people had no choice but to surrender. Everyone’s daily activities were now under the scrutiny of the Islamists. …

Women and men were segregated. Teenagers were prevented from performing daily activities considered harmless by most of the world. Any kind of enjoyable social activities were barred, including listening to music, dancing, drinking, dating, women participating in a chess championship unless you were wearing a hijab or attending a football match or other sporting event if men were playing in it. If it made you smile, if it gave you hope, it was probably against the law, such as what could be worn, whom you were allowed to talk to, what you could listen to, and whether or not you pray or fast during Ramadan. Even the most personal and private issues became the business of the regime’s forces. …

Many will still think it is impossible for something like this to happen in their country. What they fail to understand is that Iran is an example of exactly how successful this meticulous grab for power can be. Islamists in other countries including the West are pursuing the same techniques on the path to seizing power. It is a quiet, and subtle process, until the moment you wake up with no rights, a culture of fear, and no promise that you will live in freedom or even to see the next day.

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific